Bill Kreutzmann, 1967About Bill Kreutzmann

Bill Kreutzmann was born on May 7, 1946 in Palo Alto, California. Along with fellow "Rhythm Devil" Mickey Hart, Kreutzmann provided the heartbeat of the Grateful Dead since its inception.

By the time he was 8 years old, Kreutzmann was keeping the beat for his mother's dance class. He started taking private drum lessons a few years later, after being kicked out of his grade school orchestra for not keeping time! He nurtured his talent and formed several rock bands as a teenager, including the Wildwood Boys and the Legends.

In 1962, Kreutzmann was working at Dana Morgan's Music Store in Palo Alto, and a young picker named Jerry Garcia stopped in one day and purchased a banjo from him. Soon after, Garcia also got a job at Dana’s teaching guitar lessons, and forged a musical friendship with Kreutzmann that would span four decades.

Kreutzmann formed a new band, the Zodiacs, in 1963, featuring Pigpen on harmonica, Garcia on bass, and Troy Weidenheimer on guitar. The Zodiacs became the Warlocks by 1965, and it wasn’t long before the Warlocks went electric changed their name to the Grateful Dead.

During the Summer of Love, a New Yorker named Mickey Hart arrived on the San Francisco scene and wound up at a Grateful Dead concert at the Fillmore, where he met Kreutzmann during a set break. Hart eventually became Kreutzmann’s drum teacher, and soon after, a full time member of the Grateful Dead.

Bill KreutzmannIn addition to Kreutzmann’s significant contributions to the Grateful Dead and their legacy, he has also lent his talents to the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Jerry Garcia Band, Keith & Donna, Go Ahead, and Backbone. He joined Grateful Dead fellow alumni in the Other Ones in 2000, and last summer went on the road with them as the Dead. In 2003, Kreutzmann collaborated with Journey guitarist Neal Schon, Sy Klopps, Ira Walker, and Ralph Woodson to form the Trichromes. The group's debut self-titled CD combines pop, folksy blues, and classic rock. Kreutzmann's steadfast rhythm and trademark sound masterfully power the band.

Outside of his timekeeping duties, Kreutzmann enjoys creating digital art using tools such as Adobe Photoshop. He began releasing limited edition reproductions of his work starting in 2001 on his Ocean-Spirit web site. He currently resides in Hawaii.


Bill Kreutzmann Discography

This selected discography details the work Kreutzmann has contributed to recordings made without the Grateful Dead. For a complete Grateful Dead discography, please see deaddisc.com.

Solo, group leader or co-leader

  • Backbone, Backbone, 1999
  • Dice With The Universe, The Trichromes, 2002
  • Trichromes, The Trichromes, 2002

As a guest with other artists

  • Blows Against The Empire, Paul Kantner / Jefferson Starship 1970
  • If I Could Only Remember My Name, David Crosby, 1971
  • James And The Good Brothers, James And The Good Brothers, 1971
  • Powerglide, The New Riders Of The Purple Sage, 1971
  • Garcia, Jerry Garcia 1972
  • Graham Nash and David Crosby, Graham Nash and David Crosby, 1972
  • Ace, Bob Weir 1972
  • Demon In Disguise, David Bromberg 1972
  • The Rowan Brothers, The Rowan Brothers, 1972
  • Fire Up, Merl Saunders 1973
  • Wanted Dead Or Alive, David Bromberg 1974
  • Reflections, Jerry Garcia, 1976
  • The Rhythm Devils Play River Music (The Apocalypse Now Sessions), The Rhythm Devils, 1980
  • Texican Badman, Peter Rowan, 1980
  • Livin' the Life, Chris and Lorin Rowan, 1980
  • A Wing And A Prayer, Matt Kelly, 1987
  • Apocalypse Now Sessions, The Rhythm Devils, 1989
  • Retrospective Dreams, RJ Fox, 1991
  • Fiesta Amazonica, Merl Saunders & the Rainforest Band, 1998
  • Live At The Fillmore, String Cheese Incident, 2003 (DVD)

For complete details on these recordings, please see deaddisc.com.